Long Beach Marathon/Bike Tour 2008

October 13, 2008 by  

On Sunday October 12, 2008 I participated in the Long Beach Bike Tour which follows the marathon course before the marathon starts. Jamie and I got up at 3:30 AM to beat the traffic and get a good parking spot. We arrived at about 5:10 AM and parked in the convention center parking lot right off of shoreline drive where the start is. I tend to get to bike tours late so this was a nice change of pace. I was able to secure a spot very close to the start line and there I waited. It was about 52 degrees out so I wore my Underarmor cold weather gear shirt. Other people were shivering since they just had a t-shirt or a short sleeve bike jersey on.

This event marked the first time I had used my road bike in many months. I have been primarily riding my mountain bike recently. In fact I fixed two flat tires on my bike just before the bike tour. Therefore I was concerned I might get a flat. Almost exactly on time at 6:00 AM the bike tour started. I got underway almost immediately since I was near the front and settled into an 18 mph pace. The sun had not risen at this point and some parts of the course were very dark. Especially a stretch over on the other side of the bay near the Queen Mary.

The course turned to follow the coast. This part of the course is the most narrow I think. It required a lot of braking in the corners. This is where I noticed that many people don’t know how to handle their bikes. They would cut the corner no matter where they were before getting there. This section took me through mile 10. It was along this section that I started feeling like I had no energy. I knew that couldn’t be true because I had breakfast and some energy gels. I was befuddled to say the least. I would peddle harder but my pace sank to about 15 mph.

Next the course heads north towards CSU Long Beach. Here there is a U-Turn which is always fun on a bike. Luckily by starting out near the front I was far far away from the main pack. In fact I was riding almost entirely alone for long stretches of the course which was nice for me. I got to the CSU campus and I noticed it was a little hilly. My legs were really burning now and it was only mile 16. Eventually I was making my way back to Ocean Ave. Once I got there I told myself I needed to pick up the pace to stay ahead of all the traffic behind me.

So I tried and I tried and I didn’t go much faster. I got passed pretty frequently there on the home stretch but I was still doing 14 mph. At last I turned for the downhill finish on Shoreline Drive. I came in and got my medal and checked my GPS. It said I finished in 1 hour and 43 minutes. I usually finish these things in 1 hour 25 minutes so I knew something was wrong. I felt my tires to check pressure and those were fine. Then I look at my back brake. It had come out of adjustment from where it was in the morning and was now firmly implanted against the rim at all times. Yes, I was dragging the rear brake almost the entire time and I didn’t even know it!

Well I was just happy I was in one piece after that ordeal. At least I didn’t crash. I saw one guy eat it as he went too fast through a corner and slid across the pavement. He was fine with just his ego bruised.

During the event Jamie photographed the marathon start. After I dropped off my bike at my car I enjoyed the free food given to the athletes and the free beer. I tried out the Michelob Amber Bock. It was tasty and full bodied. I pretty much was as tired as possible at that point but I had a good time. It was a good day if not a very tiring one.

You can see the course map below…

View Larger Map

Check out my marathon race report at Amateur Endurance and also Jamie’s photos from the event in the gallery.


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